Michael Leon, sixth overall in last year’s Mopar CSBK Pro Superbike feature class Championship, will compete in the opening event of the 2018 MotoAmerica tour at the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta, April 13–15. The Royal Distributing-backed BMW racer decided to attend his first American National after a successful tire test at Jennings GP in north Florida in the last week of March.
“After the Jennings Dunlop test, we stopped at the MotoAmerica pre-season test at Barber,” explained Beaconsfield, QC based Leon, who travelled south with Dunlop/Pro 6 head honcho and former Pro racer Sandy Noce. “I almost rode there too, it is such a phenomenal place, but it was too big a rush. But I got a chance to look around, see how things work, and decided to go for it.”
“So I have signed up for Road Atlanta in two weeks, and my mechanic Joe Gervais and I will go down there and do our best. I know the level of detail down there is impressive, so we are in for a challenge. I know it will really help me get up to speed for the Canadian National season.”
“Right now, I’m on my way to borrow an X-Box to try and learn the Road Atlanta track! You don’t get much practice before qualifying, but this is a double header, so hopefully I can redeem myself in the second Superbike race on Sunday!”
“Right now, we’re building a new 2018 BMW S1000RR, and I will ride my current 2016 bike at Road Atlanta, we know how it works, it’s a proven performer. Jon Cornwell will be there working for his American teams, so there will be some helpful consultation opportunities.”
Leon headed to famed bike-only Jennings GP for a multi-day Dunlop tire test, with Noce also riding a Pro6 BMW during the Florida event.
“I think that trip was really productive,” continued Leon. “I got back on the bike, got back up to speed, and tried some of the new tires, and have a better idea of what we are in for. We had a few new things to try for the BMW, so overall, a great opportunity.
“We tried out the old and new Medium rear slicks back-to-back, and I really liked the new tire for edge grip and feel, it is a step forward. When it starts to spin, it is just that little bit more manageable, and I can get the back end back in-line with a little less drama.
“At the end of the last day, we tired the new soft, it really felt like a Q tire. I picked up a second right away, and then when it fell off after four laps, it was still good, like that Medium. It is hard to compare to Canada, that track has so much traction and feel, but you can learn more about the tire specifically.”
Leon’s sponsors include Royal Distributing, Pro 6, Dunlop, BMW Motorrad Canada, Windmill Motorsports, Bell Helmets, Joe Rocket, Hindle Exhaust, Performance Friction, Apex Brake lines, Gianmajor Inc., Armour Bodies, Woodcraft, MWR Air filters, Dave Smith and Vortex Racing Sprockets.